The United States government is once again providing Americans with the opportunity to order up to four free COVID-19 tests for home delivery. This initiative is available to anyone who did not order a batch of tests in the previous round, starting Monday. Individuals can secure up to eight tests from covidtests.gov, with delivery provided by the U.S. Postal Service at no charge.
The distribution of free COVID-19 tests comes as flu season begins and some areas of the country are experiencing a spike in RSV cases. Although COVID-19 hospitalizations were on the rise this fall, they have since remained steady. With the U.S. Postal Service ensuring free delivery, this opportunity is designed to help people prepare for potential increases in virus transmission during the winter holiday season, when cases typically surge.
Federal health officials are also reminding people about the importance of immunity from previous vaccinations and infections in helping to limit case counts. With insurers no longer required to cover the cost of at-home COVID-19 tests, individuals typically pay around $11 out of pocket for them. However, this initiative from the government offers a chance for individuals to receive tests at no cost, which can be particularly helpful for those who may not have access to insurance or who are unable to afford testing themselves.
In September, the Food and Drug Administration approved updated COVID-19 vaccines targeting the XBB.1.5 descendant of the omicron variant, in an effort to enhance protection during the winter months. Vaccinations are recommended for everyone age 6 months or older, but their uptake has been slow despite billions of dollars invested by U.S taxpayers into developing COVID-19 vaccines over the past three years